Ventured out to a rodeo and a friends farm a couple weeks ago to take some pictures. It's been a while since I've posted, but would like to share what I've gotten so far this year. I still have a lot of learning to do, and would like to be able to work with a professional in the future.
Thank you. I like the time of day until it starts getting dark, either my camera isn't up to the low light action or I'm not. Haven't gotten any sort of flash yet, but I'm not sure if one would help across an arena. I'm shooting with a Nikon D3200 using a Nikon 55-200 lens.
As for info/tips on how I took them, I just found a good spot to sit in relation to arena set up and the sun. How the arena is set up is perfect for where I was sitting. The only event I had to move for was barrel racing, I just had to scoot a couple feet to my right to avoid the telephone pole. My fiance competes, so I'm usually there an hour and a half before the rodeo starts. I'll play around with my camera during all the warm up to make sure all looks good. As the night goes on I may turn my ISO up a little. I'm not too worried about the photos being a little on the dark side, but too much and I can't fix them.
I'm not too great at the technical stuff, still a newbie myself. But as far as shooting for the event, I've been a long time participant in horse events and rodeo. When it comes to getting the timing down, I'd like to think I have an idea of when to get 'the shot'. Over the years I've taken thousands of photos of friends and family, they're not great photos, but the timing is good. I'd used a P&S that's been toted everywhere, dropped, kicked, stepped on, soaked, and fried. Know you're equipment.
For rough stock riders (bulls, bareback broncs, saddle broncs) you want that first big buck out of the chute. For bulls you want that huge buck, back end in the air, rider leaning back with arm high. For broncs the buck is good with the rear end high and nose down, another good shot is when they're getting all four hooves up, making a downwards C type of arc with their head, neck, and back.
Team roping is easy enough, if you position yourself halfway down the arena you should be able to capture the heading catching the steers head, the turn (corner shot when they go left, should be when the steer is drifted out and the heeler is just coming around the corner), and when the heeler (hopefully) catches the back legs. In the picture I posted the position wasn't ideal, but it worked out. The header caught the steer late and brought it to the back of the arena. I have a few shots of the heeler delivering the loop and dallying.
Barrel racing isn't too bad, depending on each rider. Most riders go to the right barrel first, which makes my seat a great spot to catch them coming around that last barrel and running for home. They tend to turn the third barrel the hardest since it's set further out, and it's right before the stretch home. They'll come in hard and leave strong, it's the money shot.
I don't get a chance to shoot any calf roping or breakaway roping, there's not much in the area. I'd hopefully be participating in the breakaway instead of taking pictures, though. What you'd probably want to see is the catch, the stop, and for regular calf roping, the flanking and end of the run (when they finish tying the legs and put their arms out).
the ones i have done are set up just about like you have posted.the bleachers are on both sides with the chutes at the end.for the bareback and saddle ridding i get on the entry end with the 70-200.i do this because 90% of the time the come running out and end up down that way.now for barrels i set up on the end where they come out to turn left or right for first barrel.that way i can get the first two barrels and when they go for last one,i can get them coming back.on the bulls,i will sit on the ground right at the fence.with the bulls last week i sit mid way on the ground facing the chutes.not sure if you are able to go around and do like i did but we was hired to shoot so we could go anyplace we needed.